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Reviewed by Viga Boland for Readers' Favorite
Megan Gordon tells me in one of the poignant short stories in her anthology, You Can't Get There From Here, that I am “the cure and the sickness, the cause and the remedy.” Of course, she didn’t aim that at me directly, but story after story, her characters and scenes reminded me who I am, and illuminated the darkening memories of my past. What an awakening I’ve experienced reading this collection! There were the conflicting feelings for which I’d hated myself as my mother died. Another story awakened the heartache I tried to bury after I let someone I loved walk out of my life. In yet another story, I was reminded of my shock on learning that a friend who should have lived a full life committed suicide. How was Gordon doing this to me with such simple, unadorned, and few words that said so much and evoked such a strong response from me? It was almost magical that somehow characters I’ve never met were people I’ve always known.
Many of the stories were sad but when I read Going Home, I burst out laughing. The narrator, a daughter coming home for a visit, as my own daughter is actually doing in 4 hours, states: “Is this what happens in marriage? If you stay together long enough, you eventually start talking about dying?” How do I tell my daughter that, yes, honey, your father and I talk about that a lot, perhaps too much these days, but welcome home anyway. It was the meaningful reflections and questions like these that kept me turning the pages of You Can’t Get There from Here. I’ve read thrillers that engaged me less. The stories are beautiful, relevant, and unique. Megan Gordon’s style and content are intimate, raw. Her words evoke memories and emotions readers have buried in order to get on with their lives. I, for one, thank her for reminding me of so much I’d forgotten. Brilliant writing that deserves so much more praise than a short review can give.